How to showcase high school accomplishments in a resume | College Connection

·2 min read

What’s the best way to make sure college admissions officers know about all your accomplishments? Compose a resume.

With a resume, you don’t have to worry about fitting the important details of your activities and achievements on the limited space allocated on most college applications.

The best time to first compose a resume is early in your high school years. Then you will have time to fill in the gaps that become evident when you put your life story in print. Resume categories typically include education (listing your GPA, SAT scores, AP courses and other academic accomplishments), athletic accolades, volunteer activities, work experience and extracurricular involvement. It also hopefully details a “passion project” where you engaged in an activity that demonstrates a talent or interest not common among your peers that will ultimately help you stand out to college admissions officers.

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Not every student needs to feature every category on a resume. Athletes, musicians and others involved in a time-consuming activity may not have the opportunity to take on a paid job. Students with after-school family or work responsibilities may not have the liberty of engaging in extracurricular activities. But all students should be able to account for how they spend their out-of-school hours — hopefully developing a passion or talent that colleges will want them to bring to their campus.

While it’s a great asset when submitting college applications, a resume serves many more purposes. It’s a helpful tool to have prepared when the opportunity arises to apply for an internship, scholarship, part-time job or membership in a prestigious organization, such as the National Honor Society. It’s also a black-and-white reminder of what you have accomplished and what you still need to focus on.

For example, all colleges expect students to have engaged in some form of volunteer work. They want students for their campus who recognize the needs of others in the surrounding community and are willing to become involved to try to make the world a better place. So, if the “volunteer activities” column on your resume is currently blank, it’s time to engage your talents in a meaningful endeavor.

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A resume is actually a lifelong document that you will add to and alter as the years go by and your goals and ambitions change. Having one on hand, and updating it as needed, will prove invaluable more often than you can imagine.

Susan Alaimo is the founder and director of Collegebound Review that, for the past 25 years, has offered PSAT/SAT® preparation, essay editing, and private college advising by Ivy League educated instructors. Visit or call 908-369-5362.

This article originally appeared on How to showcase high school accomplishments in a resume